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Deciding for schools/labs


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I am an -international- senior student in Electrical Engineering. I will apply for PhD programs in US for 2014 Fall semester, most probably in signal processing field. I am new to the application staff and I have a -really silly- question in my mind that somehow prevents me to search grad schools: Before making applications, do I need to determine all the labs in all schools that I want to get in and state all these in my applications? Or is it enough to determine and state just the schools I want?

Finding labs is very hard for me because I have very little time and I cannot decide which one is better or more convenient for me right now. And things get worse as I investigate since I get lost easily when I try to look into the schools that deep. It would be nice for me to get an experienced hand to calm down  :(

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If you're on a time crunch, at least make sure the schools that you're interested in have a focus on signal processing. You should be able to tell by a quick trip to the department's website and looking for a signal processing subcategory underneath research. 

When writing your personal statement, it often helps your situation to name a few specific professors you want to work with and why. Maybe wait until you choose a few schools you're definitely going to apply to before digging this deep though. And don't get too stressed, application season is exciting :)

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